Probiotics for every life stage
Specific needs may change, but good bacteria can help everyone, from kids to seniors.
Everybody is different. And each life stage requires different support. A common denominator for any healthy living plan? Probiotics.
Research shows that probiotics may be uniquely beneficial for kids. In fact, supplementing with friendly bacteria has been shown to help with dry irritated rashy skin, modulate and improve immune function, as well as support healthy digestion in kids. A recent analysis examined 20 published trials and concluded that, in general, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics cut the duration and severity of cold symptoms and lead to fewer missed days at work or school.
Focusing on children’s microbiome is critical, not only because of everyday stressors and the impact of antibiotics, but also because supporting the right balance now creates a solid foundation for the future.
And because kids are notoriously picky, choosing a better-tasting supplement—even if it has some type of sweetener in it—will help make sure they take it. Chewables, gummies and liquids are all good options for kids who can’t swallow a capsule. Plus, there are lots of tasty foods that can help boost their intake, from yogurt to sauerkraut, pickles and cheeses.
Probiotics can assist with a number of everyday health challenges that aren’t necessarily unique to women (think occasional gastrointestinal discomfort or low immunity). But the fact is that the female anatomy is dependent on a balanced bacterial environment in ways the male body isn’t. A balance of candida albicans, for example, is critical for women, because it indicates healthy vaginal microbiota. Unfortunately, research shows that 75 percent of women will experience an imbalance at least once in their life. And because women experience occasional diarrhea and gut discomfort more than men (60 to 65 percent of worldwide sufferers are women), probiotics can play a significant part in helping women reach their wellness goals.
But the benefits don’t end there. For the more than 50 percent of women who experience urinary tract discomfort, probiotic supplements boosted with cranberry can be a game changer. Thinking about starting a family? Recent studies show that bacteria can transfer from mother to fetus and influence birth outcomes. One study showed that higher levels of Lactobacillus casei in pregnant mothers’ saliva, for example, led to positive outcomes like higher birth weights and longer gestation periods.
Getting men to pay attention to various digestive health issues can be a challenge. Although men are less likely to seek help for heartburn, acid reflux, and other Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms, men are more frequently diagnosed with serious GERD-related conditions, according to the Central Texas Endoscopy Center.
In addition to focusing on probiotics for overall digestive support, it may also be important to help maximize the impact of one of the supplements that men most commonly take: protein. All the protein in the world won’t make a difference without proper digestion, and recent research shows that probiotics may have a positive influence on the digestion and utilization of proteins. Another bonus? Probiotics can boost immunity, which is often depleted by the stress of exercise.
Having diverse gut bacteria is important to maintaining overall health. But as we age, the balance tends to shift: “Good” bacteria can be depleted and the “bad” bacteria can win.
According to an article in Nature, microbiota composition is correlated with measures of frailty, comorbidity, nutritional status and markers of inflammation, which means it’s more important than ever to keep the gut balanced with probiotics during your golden years. Plus, age tends to bring with it chronic conditions involving the gastrointestinal, metabolic and cardiovascular system — all areas that can be supported with probiotics.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.